The Mermaid Moon (Colleen Coble) – Review

3 stars

 

“What is that guy doing?”
Carol twisted around to take in the fast-moving boat.  “It’s probably kids out enjoying the day.  Give them a blast on your horn.  They might not see you.”
“I don’t see how they could miss me.”  Mallory leaned over and gave a couple of toots on the horn, but the boat didn’t slow.
Carol could make out two figures on the craft, but they both wore hooded sweatshirts and she couldn’t make out much about their features except that they were both Caucasian.  When she heard the first buzz past her ear, she dazedly thought it was a bee clear out here on the water.  Then something pinged on the side of the boat, and she saw the bullet hole.
“He’s shooting at us!  Get down!”  Carol flung herself to the boat deck, then grabbed Mallory’s arm and yanked.
[…]
She dared a glance over the side of the boat.  The attackers were closing fast.  They must have a really big engine.  “Try to get the radio to work.”
Mallory nodded and sidled along the boat deck, then grabbed the mic and keyed it.  “Mayday, mayday, this is Mallory Davis.  We’re being fired upon by two men in a SuperSport.  I couldn’t see the boat ID.”
A man’s voice crackled across the radio.  “What’s your location, Ms Davis?”
She gave him their GPS coordinates.  “We’re a few miles out from Summer Harbor, but the other boat will intercept us before we get there.”
“We have a Coast Guard unit nearby.  Dispatching now.”
Carol risked another peek over the side.  The SuperSport had veered around to come at them from the other direction.  It appeared they intended to ram their boat.
[…]
Mallory grabbed her purse.  “Check and see if there are any guns in that cabinet.  I can use my small gun, but it doesn’t have the range I’d like.  Keep your head down.”
Carol nodded and crawled to the closest cabinet.  After searching it, she shook her head.  “Nothing.”
Mallory peeked up and took a shot at the approaching boat.  One of the men ducked.
The engine from the SuperSport grew louder.  Carol popped up for another look and saw the big boat bearing down on them.  “It’s going to hit us!”
[…]
The words were barely out of her mouth when the boats collided.  The impact sent her flying through the air, and she hit her head on the side of the boat.

Publisher’s Description
Mallory’s mother died fifteen years ago. But her father’s last words on the phone were unmistakable: “Find . . . mother.”

Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn’t have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point.

Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart and left—without a word—years ago.

When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life—and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie—their search intensifies. There’s a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye.

As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer—it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review
Straight up, I need to confess I haven’t read a lot of Colleen Coble’s books. I tend to find her romances a bit cheesy (too many clichéd romance adjectives/moments) and I prefer a writing style that isn’t always explaining the characters’ decisions and motives, or why they react/feel the way they do. I seem to be in a minority with this preference, because books with the above characteristics still garner plenty of rave reviews, but for me it makes the reading experience too passive. Nevertheless, I recently read the first book in this series and found myself intrigued by the suspense plot, so I decided to give this one a go as well. Once again, the suspense plot was quite good; there was even a surprise towards the end that I didn’t see coming. But there were other factors that made this a less enjoyable read than I anticipated.

To begin with, the tension between Kevin and Mallory didn’t really convince me. We know from the get-go that these two have a past, but although we are constantly reminded of what a big deal it was, we’re not given the details until a fair way into the novel. The not-knowing didn’t bug me so much as the way it was constantly dangled in front of the reader then snatched away again – the “it’s too traumatic to even finish that thought” approach that leaves sentences dangling. It came across as ‘drama queen’. Not my thing.

In addition, Kevin and Mallory’s interactions constantly swung between hot and cold. It smacked too much of author manipulation to me and only served to reinforce the ‘drama queen’ (or perhaps ‘drama king’) impression. When we do eventually find out what happened, I had difficulty believing that the characters would have behaved the way they did. It came very close to a ‘big misunderstanding’ complication that would have been resolved quite easily if the characters had simply communicated better at the time. Yes, they were young, yes, some emotional knee-jerk reactions were understandable in the short-term, but I couldn’t reconcile what we’re told about these characters with the way they acted in the long-term.

Perhaps even more unbelievable was the attitude of Kevin’s parents – a significant part of the original difficulties for Kevin and Mallory, and one that continued in this novel in a way that I felt was too exaggerated. Likewise with Kevin’s ex-wife, who makes a re-appearance in the novel: She is the villain, Kevin is the victim – whereas reality tends to be much more complicated. And just in case all this drama hasn’t built up a big enough lather for you, we also have the teenage daughter whose sullen attitude is never corrected, and Mallory’s angst over her adoptive status – especially since her father’s dying words were to find her mother; presumably not a reference to his wife, who died 15 years ago.

Which brings me to my next point: There was too much going on in this novel. The threads managed to weave together by the end, but it felt too complicated. There are also three other point of view characters aside from Kevin and Mallory, which added to the cluttered feeling. Even Claire (from the previous novel) gets a few scenes, which seemed primarily for the benefit of those who had read the previous novel.

I hate to sound so negative about a novel, but I did agree to give an honest review and a negative review that doesn’t explain itself is useless.  As I said at the beginning, there was a good suspense plot here, so if you can overlook the aspects that I didn’t enjoy then go for it. I’m prepared to overlook a certain amount for the sake of a good plot, but this one tipped the balance a little too far.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for my honest review.

Buy from:    Amazon.com              Amazon.com.au

Release date:   12 January 2016
Pages:  346
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Author’s website:  http://colleencoble.com/

Previous books in series

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About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
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